Cobber's "being a real jerk" in daycare

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Cobber's "being a real jerk" in daycare

This is a discussion on Cobber's "being a real jerk" in daycare within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; I'm writing this on my phone so my typing' gonna stink. Cobber's a yr old tomorrow. He's gone to day care m-f since he was ...

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Old 03-14-2014, 06:10 PM
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Cobber's "being a real jerk" in daycare

I'm writing this on my phone so my typing' gonna stink. Cobber's a yr old tomorrow. He's gone to day care m-f since he was a couple months old, loves it there, and was even the favorite of the staff. So today I picked him up at 6 and out of the blue learned that he's bitten multiple dogs multiple times all week. This was the first I'd heard of it and I just want to cry.

I'll make a vet appt to rule out medical problems but I've noticed nothing different in his home behavior at all. When I asked if it was really just this week, the guy said there have been very occasional instances before this and they wrote it off to Cobber being tired and cranky every once in awhile.

Now they're saying this biting won't fly (of course not!) and maybe I need to cut back. The entire reason Cobber goes is so he's not home crated all day and gets exercise. But now they're crating him because of this behavior so maybe it's not that different.

I'm just stunned and hurt and get to stew about this all weekend cuz they waited till Friday at 6pm to tell me. And they also trotted out the "he's a terrier" thing like all terriers are automatically antisocial biters.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out what to do. And just needed to let this all out so thank you for reading!! Suggestions are very welcome!


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Old 03-14-2014, 06:41 PM
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Is he neutered?
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:48 PM
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Is he neutered?
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Yes... since he was about 7 mos
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:50 PM
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Maybe it's fear biting due to another dog biting him??? Rule out medical first of course....
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:02 PM
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Well he is reaching adulthood and tolerance of other dogs can change then. Maybe its just too much social interaction for him .

Maybe try just a couple days a week to see if he does better.

Just talk with the daycare people so they really tell you what is going on.
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:11 PM
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Maybe it's fear biting due to another dog biting him??? Rule out medical first of course....
The day care guy (Tyler) made it pretty clear Cobber was the problem. It seems this happens when he's on their couch (for example) and another dog comes up and nudges Cobber to play, Cobber will lash out and bite. Or if Cobber's sitting by the side of one of the staff and a dog comes up, Cobber lashes out and bites. It sounds bad, and I don't blame the staff for suggesting maybe this won't work out. I can't even believe it's my dog they're talking about. This is not the sweetheart who's lying next to me right now - he's never lashed out at anything before that I've seen, and he has lots of dog friends here in the neighborhood, always gets totally worked up when he sees them, but just wants to play.

Part of what I'm dealing with tonight is the feeling of being totally blindsided since the day care staff have never said one word to me about anything like this before, and now it just sounds like Cobber's horrid. Tyler tried to give Cobber a cookie while we were standing there talking, and Cobber wouldn't take it -- I've never seen that happen before.

I need to apologize, first I disappeared off this forum awhile ago after someone didn't like one of my posts, so I'm coming back with my tail between my legs cuz I'm at a loss right now and need some advice.

And I also tend to be the type of person who likes to have a plan, wants things to go as planned, and gets really out of joint when the plan falls apart. Hence my reaction tonight. Doggy Day Care was just going to be what Cobber did during the day because (I thought) he loved it and they loved him. Now I'm suddenly having to rethink everything, and I'm not entirely sure what to do about it.

Best thing is to not have a knee-jerk reaction (I'm really good at those) like never going back there again! But Tyler did suggest maybe not 5 days a week. So next week I'll see if maybe every other day is better. Maybe if Cobber spends Tue and Thu here in a crate all day, he'll better appreciate the M-W-F when he's at the day care.

Or maybe it really is time for him to just become a house dog. But since he just got to the point with housebreaking where he hasn't had an accident in a couple months (tops), I'm not at all comfortable with just leaving him here alone all day to get into god knows what and probably have a few accidents, too.

That leaves crating, which I was trying to avoid for all-day situations. I don't live that near where I work and where the doggy day care is, so that makes it easy to drop him off before work and pick him up after, but it makes coming home mid-day to let him out a real problem. Of course, I could hire a dog walker to stop by once a day for less than the cost of a day at the day care... so that's another option I guess.

I just wish I understood what brought all this about. Is is possible Cobber's just not particularly happy there anymore now that he's a year old? Just tonight he was playing with me and chasing a toy like he was still a puppy. And when I drop him off at the day care every morning, he's so happy to be there, he runs to the door and greets the owner like he hasn't seen her in months.

Sorry, long-winded, I'm feeling very sad and just trying to process this whole situation...
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:18 PM
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I'm sure the staff didn't mean to blindside you, they probably just wanted to make sure he wasn't just having an off day before bringing it up to you.

It's not a bad idea to have a vet check to make sure there's no problem that might be making him irritable, and cutting down to 1-2 days a week might give him some "recharge" time in between his day care days, but having said that... some dogs just aren't daycare dogs as adults, just like some dogs aren't dog park dogs as adults. That doesn't make them bad dogs or jerks, just dogs who may not be comfortable in that type of social situation.

Before day care was even an option, and now even that it is, plenty of dogs spend their day at home and are perfectly happy. So if it doesn't work out - no harm, no foul. It will be ok.
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:18 PM
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Five days a week is a LOT of stimulation for a dog, even a very-social adolescent. I worked at a daycare and used to take my own dogs with me five days a week, during every shift that I worked. They're Aussies, so I thought they needed that much exercise to stay sane. When I dropped back to 2-3 days a week, I noticed a significant change in my boy's temperament. He was better able to keep his patience, less startled by sudden noises and able to choose to calm down much more easily. He actually got calmer and happier when I was exercising him less.

I'm thinking back to the dogs I had I have that conversation with when I was working at the daycare. Most were either overstimulated (think cranky toddler who is exhausted but can't nap), overbearing/bullying with the other dogs ("we're gonna play and you don't get a choice about it") or lacking impulse control. The usual recommendations were to cut back to coming less frequently, do counter-conditioning to have happy/calm reactions to other dogs instead of high-emotionally-charged feelings, and practicing impulse control games like It's Yer Choice (could someone link to the video? On my phone and it won't copy the address for some reason).

It's also worth noting that he's approaching the second developmental fear period, which basically means that everything is more emotionally charged than usual (like how 13-year-old humans are the stereotype for emotional drama). Having difficulties now doesn't necessarily mean that he isn't fit for daycare. It may just be too much intensity for him to deal with at this stage of life.
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:23 PM
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(Ignore the fear period bit, I misread. Thought you'd said he was seven months rather than a year. Past the fear period, into full-blown adolescence.)
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:37 PM
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Thanks! You're all being very reassuring - I very much appreciate that!

Regarding the "jerk" comment - that's what Tyler opened with when I walked in to pick up Cobber tonight: "We need to talk because Cobber's really being a jerk this week!" Maybe that's sort of where my sense of blindsiding came from.

Anyway, I appreciate knowing that this isn't necessarily a bad thing and that it might be a sign that he needs less exercise in his day than has been the case up to now.
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